Copycat writers

From Beatrix Potter to E. L. James, the world of self-publishing is as old as publishing itself.

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And to make your venture into self-publishing as successful as possible, here are a few hints and tips that I have learnt from my experience of working with both traditional publishers and self-publishing authors.

You’ve spent hours slaving over every word, phrase and semicolon, so what do you do next?

Call in the experts!

There are a range of experts out there who can do a multitude of different things for you. Obviously, I will talk about editing first! For a fuller description of different editing terms, see this blog post. I, along with many other editors and proofreaders, work with self-publishing authors and can support you to get the very best from your manuscript. Here’s a few of the different services you can get from an editor.

Developmental editing: Getting your story as strong as it can be. Hone in on particular areas for development.

Copyediting: Iron out all the little bumps at a sentence level. Typos, spelling, grammar and the like as well as confusing bits and holes in the narrative.

Proofreading: The very final stage before publication, getting rid of any formatting errors and last-minute typos.

But it’s not just editors who can help.

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They say “don’t judge a book by its cover” but, wherever you buy your books, it’s the first thing someone sees! A good cover design will really make your book stand out from the crowd.

Illustrations, too, will help, if your book calls for it.

In the world of publishers, the author’s only job is to write. But in self-publishing you may also have to do your own typesetting. (It’s worth speaking to your editor here, as they may be able to help you.)

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Typesetting is how your words sit on the page. And this will be different for e-books and for print books. Think about how you want chapter headings to look. Will you have drop caps? What font will you use? There’s a lot to consider.

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Then, of course, there’s selling your book! Don’t just plonk it on Amazon and hope for the best. You have to get out there and sell. That could be setting up an author website, increasing your social media visibility and raking through your contacts. And don’t give away too many freebies!

Sure, you want your friends and family to see your hard work but don’t be afraid to point them to your book’s selling page!

Publishers make big investments into books. It’s why not every book gets listed. A publisher weighs up the costs against the expected returns. But it nearly always does, otherwise we wouldn’t have publishers!

You, too, have to weigh up the costs when self-publishing. I, of course, would recommend some form of editorial support. Too many times have I seen self-published books get low reviews because no one else has read the manuscript before the author hits ‘publish’. Bad reviews are bad news for sales!

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The more professionally you can approach your self-publishing the better results you will get. Consider mimicking the publishers’ processes as closely as you can to get the best results for your book.

And, of course, if you want me to look over anything, you can always get in touch!

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Fiction editor and proofreader.

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